The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development participated in the World Water Week which takes place as usual at the end of August in Stockholm. The event is organized by the Stockholm International Institute for Water. The community of experts whose work concerns water took part in it: government agencies dedicated to development cooperation, universities, business and financial sectors, associations, organizations of the UN network.
The 2019 edition brought together around 3,900 people from 25 to 30 August, in the Tele2Arena stadium in Stockholm. The general theme was "Water for society: the inclusion of all" (Water for society: Including all). Among the topics addressed in over 270 work sessions or mini-conferences: the collection, analysis and sharing of data relating to the situation of those who have or do not have access to drinking water and sanitary facilities; diplomatic efforts (regional negotiations or coordination mechanisms) to contribute to peace starting from water management and sharing; the supply of water and sanitation to the poorest, isolated or marginalized populations; sustainable water management and the fight against corruption, from the national to the local level; the achievement of the United Nations Objectives for Sustainable Development (SDG); education and the possibility of changing people's wrong behavior in terms of water waste or lack of hygiene; the realization of the human right to drinking water and sanitation.
The situation of the toilets in the poorest areas and / or among the populations forced to migrate is indeed very worrying. The United Nations has estimated that about 2 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation (latrines, toilet). A figure that corresponds to the roughly 2 billion people who are available to drink sources of polluted water in a more or less serious way. Numerous Catholic organizations are working towards access to water and sanitation for the neediest populations, where government intervention is most lacking. A concrete intervention would require, in addition to the mere infrastructures and their maintenance, even regular checks to apply the health protocols and a special awareness for the employees and the beneficiaries of the infrastructures themselves.
The Dicastery was represented at the conference by his Official Mr. Tebaldo Vinciguerra, who in the past has already been part of delegations of the Holy See on the occasion of international summits dedicated to the theme of water. Mr. Vinciguerra, in particular, together with representatives of the Church of Sweden, the World Council of Churches, numerous Christian organizations and other religions, as well as government agencies and investment funds, participated as a speaker in the session "Water and Faith: mobilizing local faith actors to reach the 6th SDG ”(Water and Faith: Mobilizing local faith actors to achieve SDG 6).
The Dicastery has long been committed to the theme of water. Recently the Prefect's visit, Cardinal Peter Turkson, took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area recently hit by Ebola (a disease also linked to the lack of hygiene); a statement accompanied the publication of the Holy Father's Message for the 2019 World Water Day; and on 8 November 2018 the Conference "The management of a common good: access to drinking water for all" was held at the Pontifical Urbaniana University.
(Photogallery with the collaboration of @Johannes Frandsen / WCC).